From success half way around the world, Canadian born singer Raghav, is set to release a new CD in early 2012. Currently signed to Canadian label Cordova Bay Records, the 29-year-old Calgarian first came on the Canadian national radar in 2007 when the Globe and Mail profiled him as one of “Canada’s best kept secrets in the arts”.
He has indeed been a ‘well kept secret’ but that depends a great deal on where you were living.
If you had been living in London, England, you would know Raghav sold an impressive 1.3 million copies of his debut CD Storyteller (released in 2004 on A&R Records). You would also know that he won a MOBO Award for Best Collaboration, and two UK Asian Music Awards for Best Newcomer and Best Single. In 2005 he also won an Urban Music Award for Best Chart Act. If you had been living in India you would know that Storyteller was the 6th best selling international album of all time for the Indian territory. You would also be familiar with his sophomore CD, Identity (released through Universal in India); would know that he had a #3 charted single and that he had won a Southern Asian Music Award for Best Artist, and an Asian Achievers Award. Perhaps you would have seen him on his world tour in 2005 that included concerts in India, the U.S., Africa, Australia and his home country of Canada.
On The Phoenix, his upcoming North American release, fans will appreciate the connection to his past musical genius, and new fans will discover a melodic, well-spoken, charismatic artist. And with the success of the first two singles from this album, Raghav is beginning to achieve recognition in Canada.
The first single, “So Much”, was produced by Labrinth (#1 single in the UK “Pass Out” – Tinie Tempah) and features fellow Canadian Kardinal Offishall. The success of “So Much” inspired Raghav’s Juno nomination for Soul/R&B Recording of the Year. The follow up single, “Fire“, produced by the legendary Jim Beanz, has been played relentlessly on radio stations across Canada and has been featured on television shows Battle of the Blades and So You Think You Can Dance Canada. “Fire” burned its way up the charts and was recently certified Gold by Music Canada.
In spite of this, some Canadians might still be wondering who Raghav is.
Raghav was born in Toronto but his family soon moved to Calgary and Fort McMurray and put down roots. His parents enjoyed listening to Hindi and Indian classical music, which were an important influence in his musical career. At five he was enrolled in music lessons and throughout his formative years his circle of musical influence widened to include Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Harry Belafonte, Garth Brooks and Marvin Gaye among others.
At 17 Raghav’s love of music took him to Los Angeles and vocal training with Seth Riggs (vocal coach for Madonna and Michael Jackson) and a year later he moved to Liverpool England where he studied at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts. It was during this time that he joined an R&B band called 11/7, which led to the MOBO Award nomination.
Raghav’s music was once described as “South Asian-flavoured U.S. R&B music with hip-hop flourishes”. But looking forward he sees himself as a mainstream artist – a cross between Pop and Motown – who happens to be South Asian.
The successes of “So Much” and “Fire” represent the beginning of a new chapter in Raghav’s career – one that he has wanted to write, and with the release of The Phoenix – he will.